ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Call it a replay challenge of himself: Just days after Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said he was “confident” in his coaching staff and its ability to repair game and clock management issues, Hackett has hired former longtime NFL assistant Jerry Rosburg as a senior assistant to help him with game-day decisions, team sources confirmed to ESPN.
Rosburg, 66, had been retired since he finished out the 2018 season as the Baltimore Ravens‘ special teams coordinator and assistant head coach. Rosburg was in the Broncos’ team facility this past week to participate in meetings, and Hackett made the hire as the Broncos prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
Rosburg will be in the coaches’ booth for Sunday night’s game.
It is a slight departure from Hackett’s public stance during the week that he and his coaching staff could work out the problems that have plagued the team amid its 1-1 start.
When asked Monday if he planned to hire a more veteran coach to assist in game-day operations with the offense, as he had with Dom Capers on defense, Hackett said, “I think right now, I’m very confident in our staff and everybody that we have. I think everything is always open in the air. But for us, everybody is good. We just have to work things out together, we have to communicate better. It starts with me and getting the proper information that I need.”
At the time, Hackett, who is in his first season as a head coach, said he had extensive meetings with the coaching staff about the issues that had arisen in the first two games.
Asked after Friday’s practice how he felt about how the team had addressed those issues, he offered, “Every day we get better. We always feel like we’re always growing. We’re always getting better, both me to [quarterback] Russell [Wilson], Russell to the team, how we operate and everything. We just have to keep getting better.”
The Broncos were the most penalized team in the league over the first two weeks — 25 penalties have been accepted by their opponents — and have had consistent issues with the play clock and timeout usage. Hackett’s decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal in Week 1 in Seattle, rather than let Wilson attempt to convert a fourth-and-5, had been roundly criticized. Hackett later said he “definitely should have gone for it.”
The Broncos have been assessed four delay of game penalties already this season — most in the league — including two on field goal attempts during last Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans. The Broncos also used their last timeout of the second half with 7 minutes, 38 seconds left to play because they couldn’t get organized. They also used a timeout in the second half when they did not have punt returner Montrell Washington on the field as the Texans prepared to punt.
At one point during Sunday’s game, things had become such a struggle when the Broncos had the ball in the fourth quarter that the crowd in Empower Field at Mile High counted down the play clock as it approached zero.
Hackett, who indicated this week he intends to keep playcalling duties, said he and his staff have also reviewed how many people are communicating with him on the headsets at any one time.
Rosburg’s hiring was first reported by 9News Denver.